NEMA Ratings

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) defines standards used in North America for various grades of electrical enclosures typically used in industrial applications.

Each is rated to protect against personal access to hazardous parts, and additional type-dependent designated environmental conditions. A typical NEMA enclosure might be rated to provide protection against environmental hazards such as water, dust, oil or coolant or atmospheres containing corrosive agents such as acetylene or gasoline.

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NEMA-Rating vs. IP Rating

NEMA ratings and IP ratings both define degrees of protection against substances such as water and dust, but use different test methods and parameters to define their enclosure types.

NEMA ratings are geared towards industrial applications, primarily used in North America, unlike IP ratings which cover a broad set of applications worldwide.

NEMA and IP Equivalent:

NEMA enclosureIP Code
1IP20
2IP22
3, 3X, 3S, 3SXIP55
3R, 3RXIP24
4, 4XIP44, IP66, IP65
5IP53
6IP67
6PIP68
12, 12K, 13IP54

Full List of NEMA Ratings:

NEMA TypeDefinition
1General-purpose. Protects against dust, light, and indirect splashing but is not dust-tight; primarily prevents contact with live parts; used indoors and under normal atmospheric conditions.
2Drip-tight. Similar to Type 1 but with addition of drip shields; used where condensation may be severe (as in cooling and laundry rooms).
3Weather-resistant. Protects against falling dirt and windblown dust, against weather hazards such as rain, sleet and snow, and is undamaged by the formation of ice. Used outdoors on ship docks, in construction work, and in tunnels and subways.
3RAs 3, but omits protection against windblown dust.
3SAs 3, but also operable when laden with ice.
3X, 3RX, 3SXX indicates additional corrosion protection; commonly used near salt water.
4 and 4XWatertight. Must exclude at least 65 GPM of water from a 1 in nozzle delivered from a distance not less than 10 ft for 5 min. Used outdoors on ship docks, in dairies, in wastewater treatment plants and breweries. X (as 4X) indicates additional corrosion resistance.
5Dust-tight. Provided with gaskets or equivalent to exclude dust; used in steel mills and cement plants.
6 and 6PSubmersible. Design depends on specified conditions of pressure and time; submersible in water or oil; used in quarries, mines, and manholes. 6 is temporarily submersible, 6P withstands occasional prolonged submersion. Neither are intended for continuous submersion.
7Certified and labelled for use in areas with specific hazardous conditions: for indoor use in Class I, Groups A, B, C, and D environments as defined in NFPA standards such as the NEC.
8Certified and labeled for use in areas with specific hazardous conditions: for indoor and outdoor use in locations classified as Class I, Groups A, B, C, and D as defined in NFPA 70.
9Certified and labelled for use in areas with specific hazardous conditions: for indoor and outdoor use in locations classified as Class II, Groups E, F, or G as defined in NFPA standards such as the NEC.
10Meets the requirements of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), 30 CFR Part 18 (1978).
11General-purpose. Protects against the corrosive effects of liquids and gases. Meets drip and corrosion-resistance tests.
12 and 12KGeneral-purpose. Intended for indoor use, provides some protection against dust, falling dirt, and dripping non-corrosive liquids. Meets drip, dust, and rust resistance tests.
13General-purpose. Primarily used to provide protection against dust, spraying of water and non-corrosive coolants. Meets oil exclusion and rust resistance design tests.